August 9, 2013

Assist Of Sound Mind Contract Recap

If you haven't heard, CVA and Of Sound Mind came to a cease fire agreement the other day.  The war officially ended on August 8, like the announcement says, but SOUND called us off the day before, alerting us to what was happening, so that there wouldn't be any issues during this fragile time.  But, enough about the end, for now; let's talk about the contract as a whole and Noir.'s part in that.

You may not know, but Noir.'s CEO, Alekseyev Karrde hosts a podcast called Declarations of War.  One of the co-hosts is Ali Aras, who is, of course, in SOUND.  So when this whole thing was really heating up, and war was obviously coming, Ali and Alek had a little chat, and we were subsequently hired to lend a hand in the defense of SOUND space.  This was one day after we had just finished the Delve contract where we were hired to harass TEST's income-producing space for three weeks.  We were planning to have a lot of R&R, but as a mercenary, plans change sometimes.

In Delve, we had spent almost all of our time doing black ops fleets.  It worked perfectly with the geography and our mission.  We all brought down ships of all types - shield, armor, bombers; everything - because we weren't sure what was going to happen, specifically.  We were prepared for anything, but there was a kink in the plan: Noir. Academy.

Noir. Academy is, of course, the training arm of Noir.  I'm the CEO, and we recruit twice a month: 1st-5th and 15th-18th of every month.  This contract was announced after a recruitment cycle had started, and so we had a bunch of pilots who we had never flown with joining us on a contract that, turns out, required highly precise flying.

Anyway, we spent a lot of time in bombers - typical Noir. - and from the start, we were doing decently (although not as well as we would have liked), and a few bomber losses with nothing on the killboard put us in a position we weren't happy with.  As I mentioned in my post titled Who Cares About Killboards?, we were having a very large effect on the war at large, but a lot of that wasn't showing up on paper.  Our employer was happy, and so we were too, generally, but as a point of pride, we wanted to bring the killboard back up into at least the 80% range.

A general day for us consisted of hopping into bombers and harassing any CVA fleets that were trying to reinforce I-HUBs, stations, POSes, etc - sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The way the timezones worked out for us and our employer, we'd usually be at that for a few hours and then they'd ask for some support in some type of fleet, so we'd go back to reship if we needed and meet up to do some more work.

A lot of these bomber fleets were very intense.  CVA had been on the receiving end of dozens and dozens of bomb runs by the end of the war, from nearly every party involved.  We could see their tactics evolving and improving to try and reduce the effectiveness and increase the danger of doing bomb runs on their fleet.  Luckily, we have very good FCs who recognized this and we were able to remain effective, causing a lot of confusion and fright among the CVA fleets, wondering how we managed to continue to devastate their fleets and beat their fast responders who they had positioned specifically for stopping us.  Unfortunately, we were often stationed just a few thousand meters away from enemy ships in preparation for these attack runs, and the brand new students were being asked to fly at levels they had never flown before, make no mistakes, do everything perfectly with minimal instruction.  It wasn't the ideal situation for a new student, and understandably, a few of them made mistakes that lost them their ships.  Hopefully it was still enlightening and entertaining.

We mixed in a little black ops from time to time to remind CVA that just because SOUND only controlled two stations on paper, Noir. controlled Providence.  Luckily, as most of you know, Providence residents are not the smartest, and they're not unfamiliar with neutrals coming into system on a regular basis.  Each black ops fleet turned out pretty well, but these were perhaps my favorite kills (despite the fact that I blew up the wreck of one, destroying two faction heat sinks! Newb.)

Finally, just two nights before the contract was technically ended, we went on the offensive, reinforcing two towers held by a mysterious CVA member, TSOE, who we knew shot other CVA members who stuck their nose too deeply into their space, and CVA let them slide on the aggression (ironic, huh?).  But, that's because TSOE was secretly building capital ships.  Yulai Federation also had an R64 moon that they were exploiting.  TSOE also stayed isolated when it came to joining intel channels and joining Providence CTAs - again, with impunity.  Taking these down was, in my opinion, the perfect way to end the contract, smashing CVA in the mouth, driving home the hypocritical nature of their leniency with one group but not another. And of course, they had to agree to let SOUND leave peacefully, only getting rid of them because they agreed to.

How long could the war have gone on if the treaty didn't materialize? Who knows.  CVA certainly had the upper hand in that regard, at least theoretically, but I'll bet SOUND would have continued to surprise all those considered if it had come to that.

This was one of my favorite contracts based on how knock down drag out the fighting was.  It was messy, ugly, confusing, and glorious.  It took a steady hand to fly into that hornet's nest and come out alive and with kills.  I also really liked the political aspect of this war, how it started over a small incident, degraded via bad diplomacy, and came out of nowhere.  That's the EVE I love.